Picking up the pieces: The years after my Manic attack, Part 1

When I went home my mind was very fuzzy and simple-minded. I didn’t want to hang out with friends because I felt ashamed of what had happened. My parents also worried that my friends would not understand, and I could potentially lose friendships. Or perhaps they were jut worried while I was Manic? I cannot remember. Anyways, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and I was not mentally healthy enough to get a job.

I spent my days playing a new version of Runescape, an MMO game that I had originally played when I was a teenager. I substituted the emptiness and lack of purpose in real life with the satisfaction of levelling up and finding purpose in completing quests online. I missed the thrill of mania, of feeling in intimate connection with God and that my every breath was full of purpose. I could find no more feeling of God and my life felt meaningless.

My Mom knew a pastor who grew up Church of Christ, but had his own experience with the Holy Spirit. I talked with him. He counseled me and my parents that I had an authentic experience with the Holy Spirit, but I also had some mental issues that needed to be taken seriously. He told me to take learning slowly, leaning on what I knew and going deep with it, instead of going wide and shallow in a lot of different subjects. Focus first on my health.

I took his advice, focusing on becoming healthier. Mostly this was just by taking my medicine and getting my sleep. I felt far from God and barely went to church.

My Mom helped me when she met a man around my age who had previously been a pastor. He had grown up Pentecostal and was a very energetic positive person. He invited me to basketball games, Christian events, and to eat. He helped lift the fog and heaviness of depression.

Gradually I got better, and my mind healed slowly. My brother decided to move out and I moved with him. I wanted to transition into becoming an independent adult and moving forward with my life. Also, at this time my friend got a job as a pastor again. I took his old job as a paper delivery driver.

My self-esteem rose a little bit. I was not living with my parents anymore and I had a job. But I was still deeply ashamed. I was at the bottom of the work rung, or close to it in my mind. I was doing a physical job that took no schooling and I used very little of my brain. I worried about what people thought of me. I was also still ashamed of my manic attack.

I knew that I had more potential inside of me. I knew that I was destined for more. Not in a prideful way (for the most part), but that I had more talents that God wanted to use in me. But this was part of my recovery process. This job helped me to be humble and not compare myself so much with others. Everyone has their own timing with God. We might think we’re supposed to be somewhere else or somewhere further in life, but he has his own plan for our life. When we screw that plan up as we inevitably all do, he works for our good to align our life with his plan for us once more (maybe that plan shifts in some ways as we make our choices?)

I have always had the desire to write. I have a dream to write fiction. I tried to write a little bit at this time, but I was so full of perfectionism and shame at my own inadequacies and failure to write as well as I believed I could that I soon stopped.

Instead to fill the empty time I had after work I began to play video games. Soon I bought a gaming PC. I made friends online and played with them daily. Once again, I filled the emptiness with video games.

Since my mania I had been taking Lithium for my Bipolar. My parents, especially my Mom checked on me often to make sure I was getting enough sleep, not having racing thoughts, and taking my medicine to prevent me from having a manic attack. My Mom also suggested that get a counselor again. Some friends of her told her about a Christian counselor that had helped them out. From what I can remember I was a little annoyed, because I was frustrated at feeling like my Mom was always over my shoulder pushing me to get better. But I was also frustrated by a feeling of stagnation. Not getting worse, but not getting better.

I had benefitted and always enjoyed counseling in the past so I agreed to go. In counseling I think I focused on frustration from feeling stagnant and not feeling strong emotion at all, probably because of the Lithium. I sort of felt numb. My Mom suggested seeing another counselor as well, a psychologist who used to work at LCU. I said might as well try. I liked both counselors, but ultimately felt like they couldn’t help me as 1. I couldn’t identify or explore my blunted emotions and 2. I thought my biggest issues was just figuring out what I wanted to do in life and that was something counseling couldn’t really help me with. I stopped going to counseling.

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